Dress to Protect

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Dressing modestly.

I bet I scared some of you off just with that incomplete sentence. But for those of you who were brave enough to stick around, here are a few thoughts on this extremely important subject. Summer is coming and I don’t know about you, but I find it much more difficult to stay trendy and modest in the warmer months.

Modesty is (to a certain extent) a subjective and relative idea. There is no absolute dress code. I have friends who dress more conservatively than I do and friends who dress more liberally. Compared to most of our culture, I’d rank very conservative. But what decides what is okay for me to put on each morning?

My theme verse for choosing my wardrobe may sound odd.

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:28

Wow, that’s pretty serious. But it’s written to guys, so no worries. Not so fast! Did you ever consider that you can make it harder or easier for men to obey this verse? Sure, there are guys who will lust over you even if you walk around covered head-to-toe under a parka. But let’s consider godly men who are truly working to control their thoughts and respect your purity. Do you really want to make it easier for them to struggle in this huge area? Do you want to be the object of them committing adultery in their hearts because you just didn’t think about what you were revealing, or simply didn’t care? Ladies, there are plenty of girls flaunting it all; consider being one that men can enjoy being around without having to keep their guard up and “look away”. That has to get exhausting in today’s culture.

First and foremost, modesty is a matter of the heart.

It’s about dressing with deference and respect for the men you’re around with the goal of helping to protect their purity, not to mention yours. Although it is about the heart, please don’t dress provocatively with the excuse, “My heart is right and I’m not wearing this to attract attention, therefore it’s okay.”

In my next post I’ll offer some specific clothing suggestions, but for today, here are a few broad guidelines to consider following when choosing your attire.

  • Don’t wear something you wouldn’t want another girl to wear around your husband/brother/dad/son. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If another woman wears something that makes you jealous around your man, that’s a good indication you shouldn’t dress similarly.
  • Consider the point of clothing: concealing, not revealing. Does your outfit reveal more than it should or needs to?
  • Why do you like this clothing choice? If it is because it draws attention to your figure, reconsider it.
  • Ask the men in your life for input on a clothing choice. It may look different from their perspective. (Not all men are honest when it comes to this area…ask someone you know will give you the truth. I’d also suggest asking a couple of guys. For some, one particular area may not be a struggle, while for another it is a huge problem.)

A few notes to guys…

  • Don’t let your wife walk around in something that turns you on because it is revealing. Do you really want other men to feel those desires for her, too?
  • Don’t let her wear something that you’d struggle with if you saw another woman wearing it. This goes for your daughters/sisters, too.
  • Play the man and protect your wife/daughter by helping her make wise clothing choices.

Ladies, are you inadvertently acting as a stumbling block for the men in your life?

It’s very easy to do in today’s day and age. Their purity is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. I encourage you to examine your heart and clothing choices and seek the Lord in this important area. I have to do this myself on a regular basis, and have no means reached the perfect balance. My desire is to consistently, humbly go to the Lord and the counsel of my husband as I strive to grow in this area and protect the purity of the men in God has placed around me. May you be encouraged to do the same as you endeavor to glorify God in every area of life. To Him be the glory!

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